Martin Carr reviews the fourth episode of Preacher…
Good god I love this show! Now I’m not one for exclamation marks or a massive outpouring of emotion, but Preacher has lit a fire under me which refuses to go out. There is an air of justified arrogance and self-assurance which few other shows have managed this early on. Whether you consider the religious angles, fox hunting humans, or the just plain bizarre nature of things there is much to be thankful for.
That the writers have such a stone cold cast in their corner can’t be overlooked. Jackie Earle Haley, Joe Gilgun and Ruth Negga are fast becoming the reason to tune in. Their turns as Quincannon, Cassidy and Tulip respectively have made a great show almost essential viewing. Not that Cooper’s Custer or the other ensemble players are to be overlooked, but such is the comfort with which Cooper has settled into the role he is in danger of being taken for granted. There is only one other actor who has so perfectly encapsulated a character so quickly and that would be Charlie Cox. For me and many others there can be no other Daredevil before or after.
But beyond the perfect casting, meticulous adaptation and realisation of Preacher on screen there is another element which contributes quietly. Some have spoken about Breaking Bad purely because Sam Catlin used to scribble the occasional episode, but the sense of a captured zeitgeist is shared with Preacher beyond mere words.
Some shows take time to bed in, find their feet and hit a predetermined stride, but here it happened instantly. Now you could say it’s all about timing but Constantine was similar in the contentious subject matter department, yet audiences never got behind it. In truth it was funded by a network which may or may not have been its undoing, but ultimately that show crossed the line just as much. The Preacher trick seems to be one of convincing mainstream viewers that chasing girls across cornfields at night with paint ball guns is entertainment. How they have managed to make a shotgun blast to the face sympathetic is verging on miraculous, but there he is subtitled and dribbling through every scene. Yet for those who have read the comic book the one thing you should never feel for that character is empathy.
Get passed that and you have Odin Quincannon who is an odious individual with seemingly hidden depths. Played with relish by Haley who has history through Watchmen of portraying the unthinkably hideous side of humanity, is the victim of a tarnished upbringing rather than self-made villain in a piece with several layers of grey. Maybe that’s the reason why Preacher has attained so much traction so quickly. There are no clear heroes or villains in this world only elements of deviance amongst the every day. Now that’s my kind of show.